How Should I Redeem 30,000 Amex Points for Award Travel?

Sep 6, 2015

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TPG reader Mike messaged me to ask about his options for using Amex Membership Rewards points for travel:

“I have 30,000 points on my American Express® Gold Card Card; how should I redeem for an award flight?”

The easiest option is to use Pay with Points, which gets you 1 cent per point when booking through the Amex Travel portal. Using that method, your 30,000 points are worth $300. However, we can do much better!

The joy of Amex Membership Rewards (and other transferable points) is that you can use them with a wide variety of airline partners. Here’s the complete list of Amex airline transfer partners:

  • Delta
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • British Airways
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • jetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic
Air Canada’s Aeroplan offers some of my favorite redemptions.

My personal recommendations would be Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways Avios. Aeroplan offers some short-haul flights for 15,000 miles round-trip, so those 30,000 points could get you two round-trip flights, which is probably worth more than $300 — depending on your destination, of course. For more information, you can check Aeroplan’s flight reward chart.

British Airways is also great for short-haul flights, as you can get flights up to 650 miles (like New York to Montreal) for just 4,500 Avios each way. The fees are low when you redeem on American and Alaska, and British Airways doesn’t add last-minute booking fees, which is really helpful. In this case, your 30,000 points could get you up to six of those awards, or up to four awards at the next level (up to 1,150 miles). For more information, check out my post on Avios distance-based awards.

We’ve written extensively on using Amex Membership Rewards points — here are some related posts that you may also find useful:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, and follow me on Instagram.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.